With so many different types, and styles of paper out there, it can be very confusing to figure out what kind to get. So today I am going to talk about some of the things to look for when choosing what type of paper to get.
First off, we need to know what type of machine we will be using the paper in. For example, an inkjet or laser printer, copy machine, photo copier, and so on. Not all types of paper will work with every machine so it is very important to know what’s compatible with the machine you will be using.
Now we will go over the differences between Laser, and Inkjet printers. Inkjet printers use liquid ink, while Laser printers use powdery toners. There are many different names given for the two. For example, “Laser Jet” is what Hewlett Packard calls their line of laser printers, whereas their inkjet printers will be called DeskJet, Office jet, or Design jet. Canon calls their inkjet printers Bubble jet. One way to tell which type of machine you have is to check the paper that comes out. If the paper is warm to the touch after printing, and the cartridge is about as wide as a sheet of paper, it is probably a laser printer. If the ink on the paper is wet, and smudges easily right after printing, and the cartridge is 3-4 inches in size, your machine is probably and inkjet. It is also helpful to know whether your machine is Black and White, or Color. Inkjet paper is more absorbent to allow the liquid ink to soak in and dry quickly without bleeding. Laser paper will be smoother and thicker, and their low moisture content ensures they won’t curl from the heat of the printer.Another aspect of paper to be aware of is the brightness. Paper brightness is measured as the amount of light reflected from the surface of the paper. The higher the brightness, the better the background will be for images. There are different measuring scales, which can get confusing, but the common factor is the higher the number the higher the brightness.Paper weight has been used for hundreds of years, and was originally started by Arabian papermakers. The problem was that different sized paper would have different weights so the industry standard weight is now determined by weighing 500 sheets of 17” x 22” paper. Most standard paper is 20 lb. and just like brightness, the higher the number the higher the quality. Thickness and weight do not always coincide with each other so it is a good idea to be aware of what application you will be using the paper for. For example, photo paper, and card stock are items where the thickness can be very important. Thickness is usually measured in mil or .001 inch.
I hope this was helpful in solving some of the many mysteries involved with choosing the right paper. Please check back often, as the quest for answers in the Office Supply world is not an easy one, but its one journey I’m willing to take.